Drive Foot Traffic With Pokémon Go



Good morning internet fans, It’s Ryan Perry here. Simple Biz Support. Today, is Thursday July 21st, therefore it is Internet Marketing Thursday. On the other side, I have Virginie Dorn, the CEO of Business Website Center. Good morning, Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Mr Perry, good morning to you, how are you?

RP: I’m doing very well, thank you. We’re going to talk about Pokémon; which I have to admit, I downloaded the app. I used it for less than five minutes, just to see what it was all about and then I removed it.

VD: Did you remove it because you ran out of battery, or just because you were not interested?

RP: One, I wasn’t interested, and two with the security concerns over full access to the Google account, I just wanted to see what it was about, and then I’ve 86’d it.

VD: And I did exactly the same.

RP: Yeah. But, even if you’re not into Pokemon, the reality is this is one of the biggest, craziest phenomenon’s that has hit the digital enterprise, I guess you could say, in many, many years.

VD: Oh, yes, in terms of application for smartphones, it has had the most signed up in such a short time. The app was released less than two weeks ago, and that’s all that you can see on the internet, it’s Pokemon Go there, Pokemon Go. But today we’re going to talk in general, what Pokemon Go is, so people can understand it as a business owner, but also how as a business, you may be able to benefit from the craze and get yourself more visibility online or on smartphones.

RP: Alright, perfect. And just so people understand that, for those that have kinda seen this but they haven’t really investigated, or they’re just not interested. This is one of those things, even if you’re not interested there are opportunities for a lot of brick and mortar stores out there to take advantage of this. Not only from the game platform itself, but also from marketing, it’s just people, there’s a buzz about it right now. We were just talking before we went on the air, the fact that they haven’t released the app in Japan yet, because they’re concerned about the servers being able to handle capacity. Now these are big companies that we’re talking about, and if their servers, they’re concerned about handling capacity, it’s just a huge, huge number that we’re talking about; which has an immense potential for small business.

VD: Yes, so the company we’re referring to is Niantic. They’re quite known in the gaming industry, they’re huge, this as you say, if they’re worried about their servers you know it’s because they get that much traffic. And just as you’ve mentioned, because you as a site owner are not that interested in Pokémon Go, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Facebook or any of those craze items, it doesn’t mean you cannot utilise this for your business and help it take it to the next level of success. So again, we’re not asking you to be a gamer, we’re asking you to maybe harness the power of that game to make it beneficial for your company.

RP: Yeah, definitely, ’cause when it comes to marketing, it should never be about you; the business owner, it should always be about your consumers and your prospects. What are they interested in? What do they want to know, and what do they need from you in order for you to be successful? So, you want to talk real quickly about the dynamics of the game, and why it’s relevant for business owners?

VD: Yes, let’s talk in a nutshell what the game is about. So, it’s an application you put on your smartphone, but right now it’s just for android and iPhones, or iOS operating system. And, it’s a free app; which is great, so it’s a free game, people download it, they can chose an avatar. Avatar is like a digital character, and it can look like you, you can customize their hair color, the eye color and so forth, so that can be kinda fun. Then you just walk around your neighborhood, or anytime you go some place, and you might see little Pokemon characters, just like the old games, that you can grab digitally with your phone. It’s a very easy game, again, it’s not brain surgery. I think that’s why it’s so popular. And it is targeting a younger audience but we’ve seen people in their 30s and 40s still going crazy about it, and becoming very addicted to the game. So, the game itself is simple, you grab Pokemons, you collect them just like the cartoon originally; which is a Japanese cartoon, which was very popular in the the 90s. You all remember the Pokemon cards, but now it’s not just grabbing the characters, now they have Pokestops which are actually physical locations, just like museums and churches, but also businesses. So that’s when it becomes interesting for you as a business owner.

RP: Right, and just to reiterate ’cause we gave you a lot of information, you actually play the game; and again, I don’t have it on my phone otherwise I’d show it to you, but there’s an actual map that pops up, and you have to physically walk, to different locations, to find these Pokemons and other things that are out there. Whether they’re Pokestops or Pokegyms.

VD: Yeah, Pokegyms, Pokestops.

RP: Yeah so you’re actually following… It’s almost like GPS, with Google maps, they actually have their own version of a map with streets and all that, and you’re walking trying to find these characters. And so if you happen to be one of those stops, guess what’s going to happen? People are going to be walking to your location.

VD: Yes, indeed. And the map is a true map, so if you’re on the ABC street, it’s actually going to show ABC street right there on your phone, so it’s actually almost like Google map, just more digital, cartoonish version of it. So it’s a real digital map of where you are physically located. So it needs to know your GPS information, so that’s going to be one of the concerns of course is because now this game knows exactly where you are, meaning you’re not at home right now. And it also accesses your camera in order to grab Pokemon, which are digital characters. So they could get the photo of the street even though you don’t physically see it with your eyes. If you look on your phone screen you’ll see the Pokemon there at the corner of a street, and I can capture it, and add it to your collection. It’s using live navigation. Again like you say, you have to walk around in order to capture more and more Pokemons. But what’s becoming interesting again is those Pokestops, which are real live locations. A lot of them are added automatically if you’re an important business, so like Gamestops and so forth, or a church, museums or more like… I don’t know, common places where you are.

RP: Right. I know parks, parks are a common place also. Seems cemeteries, that was one of the first kind of odd things that came out is it seemed a lot of these things, Poke-thingies were actually popping up in cemeteries.

VD: Correct. So that’s been one of the big controversies, just like anything it comes back successful is when people either love it, and people even hate it. So the haters out there are saying things which I agree to. Some places are just not appropriate to be turned into a game playground. The Holocaust Museum, I think it was in San Francisco, I forgot. But there was Pokemons there, and this is a serious museum to be shown respect, not to be turned into a playground. But all those places can actually be deselected, so there was a form until a couple days ago on Niantic where you could go and request to be removed from the game so there would be not a group of people showing up at the museum just trying to catch Pokemon instead of viewing the artwork. There was also that same form to be used to be added as a business and say, “Hey, I totally want to be part of the game. I want Pokemon in my store, in my restaurant, in my bar.” And this was all true until a few days ago when Niantic became so overwhelmed with the amount of requests to be added to the game. Just like we were going to suggest today. Today’s webinar was all about, get added to the game if you want exposure from a younger audience, cause that form right now is offline, correct?

RP: Yeah. And even when it was online, I tried signing a couple of clients up a couple of days ago, and at that point they were accepting them, however they were not processing anything at this time. And it’s just again the sheer number is absolutely crazy, and at some point obviously they’re going straight up as far as volume. As some point it’s going to taper off. It’ll drop, but it seems like this game’s going to probably pretty relevant for a while, so even though you may not be able to apply right now, it’s something you want to add to your marketing calendar and check back in a month, two months, three months, whatever. And see if you can because long term, if it makes sense for you as a business owner to have more traffic in your store, then you’ll ultimately want to get on this list at some point.

VD: Correct, and I’m not sure if it’s a legal matter or what, but I think at some point the game needs to be tied in with Google My Business, which is a Google Map where businesses who have already agreed to be shown on Google Map could be shown automatically on Pokemon Go. Now a family member, Niantic was a spin-off of Google. I forgot where they got intertwined, so I’m not sure again the legal implication about automatically adding businesses, but that would save them a lot of time instead of having a hundred thousand businesses requesting to be added in one day. So we’ll see what the future will tell… So let’s talk in theory. Let’s say the form is back to working, and you can supply your information, and say, “Yes, I’m a restaurant. Very interested in having some cool Pokemon on my restaurant to invite people.” So the benefit is free advertising. People are going to show to your rank of your order location, so you do have to have a physical location of course. And then people are just going to go there just because you have that Pokemon, so if you’re a restaurant, it could mean they’re going to grab something to eat there at lunch time because they know there’s a Pokemon, and might as well have lunch here instead of elsewhere.

RP: Yeah. And then the other side is looking at it from a digital social media point of view, how can you engage in the craze. And then offline, how can you let Pokepeople, I don’t know what we call them. I’m going to call them Poke-people, know that, “Hey, you are welcomed here.” I’ve seen some videos, especially, New York Central Park, where it seems like there are thousands of people because a new Pokedude shows up, and it’s just a swarm of people, and they actually block the street. There were so many people walking that they literally blocked the street. Cars couldn’t get by. It’s absolutely insane. Obviously, in smaller towns you’re going to have less population. I don’t want to scare small business owners away, if thousands of people showing up. Smaller towns you’re going to have less of that happening, but just like Virginie was saying, is that look, if you’re a restaurant, at some point, people are going to get tired. They’re going to want to sit down, get a little meal, get something to drink, that totally makes sense. If you’re into games we’ve got Fundemonium is right on the other side from my business complex. I’m sure, they’re doing something, but it’s just sometimes you just got to ride the wave from a marketing point of view to get that notoriety, to get people to go, “Oh, what’s going on?” You never know.

VD: Yes. With GameStop in particular, was added… I think that’s almost 500 locations were added to the game, and they saw a 100% increase in business and revenue on that day. So, obviously, it was GameStop kind of people, but talking about getting the right kind of audience through your store doors, without paying for it. So, that was huge for them.

VD: Again, you don’t have to be GameStop, or even a restaurant or a bar. Even if you’re a dentist or ortho-dentist, you have a lot of younger people, it’s the kind of things… It can’t hurt too bad. Of course, if you don’t think it’s right for you, you don’t want that kind of audience through your doors, just make sure you’re not listed, and you’ll find out soon enough if you are.

VD: If you see people with their smartphone looking at your reception hall… Thank you… Just ask them. And if they’d say, “Oh, you’re on Pokemon Go, I’m trying to catch my Pokemon characters.” Then you know you’re listed, and then that’s when you can request to be removed from the game altogether.

RP: Right, which at this point I think is that’s all the same form. I just posted it in the chat box. Unfortunately, to remove yourself it’s the same form, so that is down also. So, you’ll have to come back, and just recheck, and see when it comes up.

VD: Yes, if you’re having issues of the gamers being at your location, and you want to get them removed ASAP, you’re going to have some difficulty getting to the right decision-maker at Niantic to get them to remove you, just because they are a bit overwhelmed. They didn’t expect that much success, that quickly, from the app. That’s why we’re all talking about it. It’s extremely successful because it’s a bit addictive. It’s very simple, and it’s free-of-charge.

RP: Yeah. Perfect. Okay, any last minute comments that we should think about regarding Pokemon Go?

VD: No. In general, again, you don’t have to be a gamer. You don’t have to be a lover of Facebook, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, or anything else online on your smartphone, any of those apps. You just have to harness the power, and see if it can be utilized to make your business even more successful online. So again, think about it as a marketing tool, nothing else. You don’t have to learn the game. It offers free advertising, so why not use it?

RP: Yeah, definitely. Again, sometimes you just got to ride the wave, take that little bump in sales ’cause… One of the things I think… I’m going to go off a little tangent… Is that if you can bring in an extra 20% new business, even if it’s for a week or two weeks, that’s money you’ll never gain again if you didn’t do this. So, that extra 20%, you’re never going to have that opportunity again.

RP: Next year, Pokemon are not going to come out again, this huge thing. You have to capture the moment, and that money that you acquire now, you’ll never have access to again. So, you’ve really got to kinda take the bull by the horns, and do it now, if you’re going to.

VD: Yes, very true.

RP: Alright, very good. Virginie, as always I appreciate the time and energy that you put into each episode that we put on. That it is for this week’s episode. Next week, we will not be talking on Pokemon unfortunately, but we do have a great episode for ya. Virginie, thank you very much.

VD: Thank you, and have a great weekend.

RP: Will do. You too. Alright everybody, take care. We’ll see you next week.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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